Bisa’s Carnaval – Joana Pastro and Carolina Coroa

Bisa's Carnaval Joana Pastro
Bisa's Carnaval by Joana Pastro, Carolina Coroa
Published by Orchard Books on December 7, 2021
Genres: Children's
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Discover the sights and sounds of Brazil through the eyes of a young girl and her great-grandmother as they share in the excitement of Carnaval!It's time for Carnaval and Clara cannot wait to celebrate her favorite holiday with family, but especially with her great-grandmother. Even if Bisa can't attend, Clara knows the Carnaval parade will still be special.
Costumed lovingly by their bisa, everyone takes to the street for the annual parade. But even among all the colors, costumes, music, and dancing, something is missing . . . or is it someone?
With lush, lyrical text and bright, colorful illustrations, this book takes readers to one of the most exciting holidays of the year and reminds us that no matter who or where you are, love is always worth celebrating.

It’s time for Carnaval and Clara is excited. Her Bisa (great-grandmother) takes her shopping for all the supplies and helps her make a beautiful costume. But when it comes time to go, Bisa stays home. “Carnaval won’t wait for old legs,” she says. Clara’s exploration of Carnaval is bright and colorful, with joy and happiness resounding in the celebration. The only thing missing is Bisa. Clara makes up her mind and decides that if Bisa can’t go to Carnaval, she’ll take Carnaval to her.

Author Joana Pastro writes that her impetus for Bisa’s Carnaval was remembering her childhood in Brazil and how the whole community came together in celebration. The true beauty of Carnaval rests in its power to bring people together. All are welcome to participate in the parade, and for several days we are unified in our joy. Carnaval is a celebration about being creative, spontaneous, and surrounded by loved ones. With that in mind, how can you leave Bisa at home?

Carolina Coroa’s illustrations shine. There’s not a muted color or a dull mark in the book as she captures the heart of Carnaval. It’s beautiful and tender, yet unapologetically bold. There’s so much going on in the background that young readers will be enraptured by the pages, finding new things to look at with each read.

A celebration of Brazilian culture, Bisa’s Carnaval is bright, vivacious, and fun, but its message is important as well. In the States, the parallel celebration—Fat Tuesday—is usually perceived as a very “adult” celebration, not at all appropriate for children. Carnaval explores the power of community celebrations and the need for all of the community to be involved and participate in the culture. It’s a beautiful, touching story.